‘Town centre revival is about more than just the Piece Hall’ says Council leader

Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift
Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift

It is home to Britain’s last-surviving ‘cloth hall’ which is rapidly becoming one of Yorkshire’s biggest tourist attractions after its £19m conservation-led redevelopment.

But according to Calderdale’s council leader, the challenge facing Halifax in the coming years is making sure the town is known for more than just the Grade I-listed Piece Hall.

Improvement works for the town centre and the A629 route which runs through it were approved by councillors this month.

The proposals, potentially the first in a series of interventions, include the creation of a new public area opposite the Piece Hall, to be called the Piece Garden, and improvement to bus, cycle and pedestrian facilities.

Council leader Tim Swift told The Yorkshire Post: “We were clear even before the crisis on the high streets became headline news that town centres can’t just depend on people coming in to shop, they need to be places that are attractive to leisure.

“The Piece Hall really provides a good focus for that but the challenge is making sure it is not just about the Piece Hall and the rest of the town centre benefits from that. There is still a lot of work to be done around that but there are some really good signs.

“The next challenge is finding good uses for places on the fringe of the town centre which we recognise are not going to continue as retail.”

The plans have since hit an obstacle after Historic England granted Grade II listed status to the 19th century Hughes Corporation building, which had been intended for demolition.

Coun Swift said: “There is some questioning about one or two [buildings] but the broad intention of shifting some of the traffic flow away from the town centre, creating some better pedestrian experience and a better journey for people and a more attractive space in the town centre, people accept those, but there is always a lively debate about how you do it.”